Palace Gardens Offers Creative Outlets for Self Expression

Memory care activities at The Palace Gardens in Homestead tap the inner creativity of residents through regularly scheduled arts & crafts and ceramics workshops. “Art is a way for people with dementia to express themselves,” said Jennifer Almodovar, Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. “It provides an outlet for self-expression and helps them relax.”

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At the assisted living and memory care community, crafts are geared to be completed during the weekly session with instructor Terrie Dawkins, which gives residents a sense of accomplishment. “You can feel their joy while they are painting,” said Dawkins. “We combine crafting with singing because familiar songs help guide residents’ focus and improve their concentration.”

She tries to keep a seasonal theme to residents’ crafts. Just in time for summer, the group recently made butterflies with coffee filters, clothespins and paint and jellyfish with paper plates, ribbons and jiggly eyes.

“Crafting projects give residents opportunities for social interaction and dexterity exercise,” added Almodovar. “Importantly, our aides are trained to encourage them but all the work is done by a resident. We explain it’s okay if it’s not perfect. We simply want them to enjoy the activity.”

Terrie also instructs The Palace Gardens’ Friday ceramics workshop which offers residents the tactile sensation of working with clay or other media. They’ll take a blob of clay and make objects which she takes to be fired and returns their object for painting.

“We adapt to each resident’s ability. If they aren’t comfortable working with clay, we’ll switch to something two-dimensional like watercolors which is a more forgiving medium. We want residents to enjoy the process and go at their own pace. Dementia can be very isolating for people. Having opportunities like crafting help families acknowledge that living at a community geared to dementia is so beneficial for their loved ones,” said Almodovar.

If you have questions about dementia care or if you’d like to come and visit The Palace Gardens, please call us at 305-247-0446, or email Elizabeth@thepalaceus.com.